又中又英——“too much style, not enough substance”

  A sports commentator used an interesting expression to describe a football team last week. The expression he used was style over substance. He said the football team had "too much style, not enough substance". The word "style" has many meanings. It can mean someone's hairstyle, different styles of fashion, or a particular way of writing or painting. It can also mean a high quality in appearance or behavior. For example, you can say very expensive cars have got style. This is the meaning of the word "style" in the expression "style over substance". The word "substance" also has many meanings. It can mean a solid, powder, liquid, or gas with its own compositions.

  It can mean something based on fact or logic. If you say something has no substance, it means it is not true. The word "substance" can also mean the most important part of an idea. Or it can mean the quality of being important, significant, or serious. This is the meaning of "substance" in the expression "style over substance". When the sports commentator said the football team had "too much style, not enough substance", he meant the team appeared to play in a high quality or impressive way to please fans instead of playing in a serious or significant way. The team considered looks as more important than content.

  This expression can be used in different ways. For example, a speech can sound very good but doesn't contain good points. You can then say the speech had style over substance. Another expression is "quality over quantity". The word "quality" describes how good or bad something is. The word "quantity" means the amount or number of something. Some people prefer quality over quantity. This means they prefer to have less but what they have is of quality. Others prefer quantity over quality, which means they prefer to have more things even though they are of low quality.

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  上星期,一位體育評述員用了一個有趣的習語去形容一隊足球隊。他用的習語是style over substance。他說那隊足球隊had“too much style, not enough substance”。“Style”一字有許多意思,它可以指某人的髮型(hairstyle)、時裝的不同款式(styles),又或是寫作的文體或繪畫的特定畫風;它也可以指形象上的風格或行為上的作風。譬如你可以說,非常昂貴的車都有style,這就是習語“style over substance”裏的“style”的意思。“Substance”也有許多意思,它可指物質,即有着獨特成份的固體、粉末或氣體。

  它也可以指事實根據或邏輯。若你說某事沒有substance,那即是指它缺乏依據,不是真的。“Substance”也可以指一個想法中最重要的部份;亦可以指成為重要、有意義或需要認真考量的那個本質——這就是“style over substance”裏的“substance”之意。當那位體育評述員說,那隊足球隊had“too much style, not enough substance”,他的意思是,那隊球隊作賽時看似很高水平,或很能取悅球迷,用上令人印象深刻的技法,卻非認真或有意義的踢法。該球隊認為外觀比內涵重要。

  這個習語亦可以在其他不同的地方用得上。譬如,一場演說聽來很棒,卻不含甚麼好的見解,你便可以說,那場演說had style over substance、言過其實。另一個習語是“quality over quantity”。“Quality”是指某物的質量、品質;“quantity”則指某物的數量。當某些人寧願要quality over quantity,意即他們重質不重量,寧要少一點,但要好的品質;另一些人則寧願quantity over quality,那即是他們重量多於質,寧要多一點,即使那些東西的質素(quality)較低。中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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